Looking for math activities to try at home this summer? Many of the participating organizations at the 2019 Festival’s Make or Take Spiral have shared free resources which you can enjoy from anywhere in the world.
The Game of Chomp (PDF): The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) invites you to play the game of Chomp, where a wrong move may lead you to a poisoned chocolate! Try your hand at strategies to beat this sweet strategy game on paper or via iOS mobile app.
Bedtime Math Summer of Numbers: Parents know to keep kids reading over the summer, but keeping math skills sharp is important, too. Avoid the “summer slide” and add some playful, mischief-making math to your summer routine! Summer of Numbers makes it easy. Bedtime Math posts a wacky new math problem every day on Bedtime Math’s website and free mobile app. Every time kids do a Bedtime Math problem, add another star to their chart. Looking for more easy ways to roll in a little math into your daily routine? Check out their Parent Tips sheet that’s full of quick, fun ways to do a little math while you’re on the go this summer!
DC Math Circle: Geometry Math Olympiad Challenges (PDF): For those looking for a challenge this summer, the DC Math Circle has provided a rousing round of Math Olympiad-level geometry problems to explore! You can find more sample problems on their website.
Quantity Cards (PDF): The Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute offers parents and early childhood educators simple-to-learn game ideas to help young children build their understanding of early math concepts. You can download a set of quantity cards to print at home (double-sided), as demonstrated at the 2019 Festival.
Quantity cards have pictures of small sets of dots, finger patterns, and 5- and 10- frames showing numbers from 1 to 10. Quantity cards require children to look at a picture and say how many they “see.” This attention to numerosity builds children ability to subitize: children will instantly see a small quantity and label it with a number word. (Most preschoolers will recognize three fingers without counting, “one, two, three.”) Using these quantity cards with pictures when playing card games, rather than numerals, increases children’s attention to numerosity and adds novelty to old favorites like Go Fish or Memory.
Puzzle Booklets and Maze Mats from the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival A Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival offers students advanced and thought-provoking mathematics in a social and cooperative atmosphere. Students choose among several tables offering problem sets, games, or puzzles with mathematical themes. They work as long as they wish, while a facilitator provides support and encouragement. Motivation comes from the social interaction, rather than from any prize, grade, medal, or ranking. Festivals are run locally and supported by a national network. Learn more at jrmf.org.
You can explore some of the activities at JRMF events using the free booklets and resources on the JRMF website. These resources can engage many types of students, including those who don’t enjoy competition or working under time pressure. There are also files to print your own maze mats as seen at the 2019 National Math Festival: 10’x10′ mats which can be printed on large vinyl sheets for students to solve on their feet!
Math Monday flyer (PDF): Math Monday is a weekly drop-in lunchtime activity where students of all ages can get hands on with fun math games, puzzles and manipulatives that help build math skills. Elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and homeschoolers can all benefit from starting their own Math Monday. It’s designed to be easy to run and fun for kids:
- Fun. We want kids to enjoy math, so kids choose what they want to play.
- Free. It costs nothing to start one, other than the cost of the games.
- Easy. It takes few people to start it, and a couple hours a week to run it.
- Run by volunteers, so it involves parents, and doesn’t burden teachers.
- For all kids, of all abilities, not just math whizzes who already enjoy math.
- Social. Our games encourage kids to play and learn together.
- Weekly. Math Monday complements monthly events like Math Circles.
Boost your number sense, grow wonder into algebra, and wow your friends with Natural Math‘s activity sheets: easy enough for a 5-year-old but deep enough to capture the attention of teens and adults!
- Ancient Multiplication Trick (PDF): Try the ancient merchants’ multiplication trick using just your fingers, and see if you can figure out how it works!
- Design by Formula: Spirolaterals (PDF): Spirolaterals are geometrical designs formed by the repetition of a simple rule: drawing line segments of increasing length, then turning at a fixed angle after each segment. You can create a rich variety of figures using simple skip-counting techniques.
- Mirror Books and Snowflakes (PDF): Create a “mirror book” by attaching two mirrors of the same size together using duct tape. This tool, along with classic paper snowflakes, provide lots of fun opportunities to explore rotational symmetry.
- Substitution Fractals (PDF): Explore multiples/fractions, positive/negative powers, and multiplication/division – within a single unifying pattern. Create your own substitution fractal by making a simple drawing, and then replace each part with a miniature copy of the whole shape. Repeat the process several times and explore the resulting fractal artwork!
- Tree Fractals (PDF): Admire one of nature’s most common multiplication models. Create a tree fractal: a series of repetitions of a base design at special points. Sketch an object or a shape that you or your children like — perhaps a cat. Mark some points that stick out, such as the tips of cats’ ears. Draw smaller versions of the cat at each of the marked points. Keep repeating, and you’ve made a tree fractal!
NSF Jr. Passport Activities (PDF): The National Science Foundation (NSF) designed this Jr. Passport for the 2019 National Math Festival. This PDF version of the passport that was given to Festival attendees is packed with exciting math games and activities, all created with the support of the National Science Foundation. Explore angles in letters, play sudoku or create your own, try a secret drawing game with a friend, explore cryptography, cyphers, Moebius strips, and more!
NOVA Education brochure (PDF): For over 40 years, NOVA has been educating and entertaining millions of television viewers with stories of scientific discovery—from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world. NOVA Education supports STEM education and engagement nationwide through the creation of resources from NOVA’s broadcast and digital productions.
Parents, share the joy of early math and science with your preschoolers with free apps and at-home activities from WGBH.
- WGBH Early Math mobile apps (PDF): Explore all of the free iOS mobile apps designed for parents to share with young children, including the Early Math with Gracie & Friends™ and Early Science with Nico & Nor™ series.
- Textured Ramp Challenge activity (PDF): Does your child love to play with toy cars? Using pieces of cardboard and materials found around your home, you can create this easy activity. What textures do you think will move the car or block faster and farther down the ramps? Challenge a friend or family member to a ramp race!
- Growing Plants – Count and Measure How Tall (PDF): Enjoy this at-home activity with your child! Let’s measure plants! Print the measuring strip and attach it to a wooden dowel or stick, and explore plants using the suggested activities.
- Peep and the Big Wide World mobile apps (PDF): Play fun math and science games, videos, and activities with Peep and his friends.
Looking for more free or low-cost resources to explore this summer? Check out our More Math! Resources page, filled with mathy puzzles, games, books, articles, video, and more!